by Alison Miller | 1 comment
We talk a lot about life integration here at Tiara. At a time when we women seem to be busier than ever, this focus is so relevant to the quality of our lives. Instead of living in the illusion that we are going to one day achieve balance or get all of our life circumstances worked out, the idea of living an integrated life calls us to be creative and be honest about what really matters to us and all that competes for our time and attention. When we focus on life integration instead of balance, we recognize that there is no magical day out there in the future where we will at last achieve balance.
In Tiara, we define integration as blending into a unified functioning whole. We are committed to supporting the practice of life integration whereby the unified whole of your life is a creative blend that represents your values, priorities, and desires. One area of your life doesn’t compete against another. Instead, life integration is a creative endeavor of integrating various roles and priorities in a way that reflects what you value.
This might look like:
- Having a successful career AND personal life
- Having a clean, organized home you love AND time to read, relax, or do nothing in that home
- Being a great mother AND actively pursuing hobbies you love.
There are many practices that support life integration and one that I have been particularly present to in the last few months is the importance of asking for help. Asking for help (and being willing to receive it) can make a huge difference in the quality of your life. And if you are like me, it may be uncomfortable to engage in this practice. It actually may require practice on your part like going to the gym to build muscles that have atrophied. I have been at the “ask for help” gym for about a year and a half now and I can tell you that with practice you will get better at asking for and receiving help.
I am a notorious “do-it herself” kind of person. If you ask my friends who have known me for a long time, they will tell you that I am self-sufficient and I don’t ask much of others. My mind often leads me to think“it would be easier if I just do it myself,” “I don’t have time to explain what I want done to someone else,” or “I don’t want to burden, bother, or annoy others with my requests.”
Underneath those beliefs is a fear of looking inadequate and unable to manage my own life. Asking for help can make me feel outright vulnerable. Now rationally, I know these are all limiting beliefs but that doesn’t mean I don’t fall into the trap of believing them at times. Over time, these beliefs developed into a pervasive habit of doing things myself to the point that it often does not even occur to me that I could simply ask for help when I need it. I encourage you to consider whether you ask for help and if not, what beliefs hold you back. Do you fear you will look weak? Do fear being told “no?” Do you believe you “should” be able to handle things yourself?” Consider those ideas to be beliefs from the past, not the truth (even though those beliefs can be awfully convincing). And these beliefs can actually get in the way of life integration.
I recognize that if I want my life to work and flow smoothly, I benefit greatly from the help of others. In order for me to keep my focus on my most important priorities, the values or directions in which I want to live my life, and have what I desire, I need a team. I need other people! There endless ways you can practice asking for help.
A key practice I have instituted is having a weekly meeting with my husband to review what is happening for the week including my priorities, his priorities, and our children’s schedules. In that meeting, I make clear and specific requests for help. Most recently, I asked him to handle setting up new 401 accounts and taking our children to the dentist. It is a huge relief to me to have someone on my team who will handle various tasks and events for me. I have also asked friends and colleagues for all kinds of help (collecting my mail when I am out of town; picking up my son from school so I can attend an important meeting; creating new forms for my coaching clients to fill out; giving me input on the design of an upcoming workshop) that helps my day-to-day life run more smoothly and keeps me focused on my priorities. There is no end to the types of help, support, and assistance you can request. The key is you have to be willing to ask and then receive the help. Keep in mind that there is an added bonus to asking others for help; you allow others to love you and contribute to you. And you make it easier to support live an integrated life where your values, priorities, and desires are present and creatively blended by you.
Do you ask for help? If not, what holds you back?
What areas do you see where you can ask for help?
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